ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource
Q: I feel so mean. How can I become kinder?
A: In becoming kinder to yourself you become kinder to others.
The Bible tells us to, “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” I remember as a little girl in Chapel thinking that this meant that you had to put others before yourself and think of others first. As I remember nobody encouraged my to think otherwise. I guess it suited them!
As a grown up I ‘m having a bit of a re-think. This Commandment doesn’t say, “Love thy neighbour better than thyself, or less than thyself, it says as thyself.” Although there are plenty of selfish, egocentric people out there, it seems to me that this world is also brim full of people who don’t love themselves very much and therefore are incapable of loving anyone else either.
If we want to be kinder generally there is a case for starting with ourselves. Being kind to ourselves seems to me to be a pre-requisite to being kind to others. So, instead of being mean with ourselves let’s try being generous with ourselves, instead of being harsh with ourselves let’s try being kind to ourselves.
In ACT terms this may mean we have to defuse from the stories that we have been telling ourselves. They are only stories after all. That little girl in Chapel listened to lots of stories and thought they were true as little girls often do! When we are grown up though we have a chance to decide for ourselves whether these stories are useful or not. If they work for us that’s fine. If they don’t it may be time to let them go.
Today I am making a case for kindness beginning at home.
I wrote the poem “KINDNESS” to remind me of that.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
- How good are you at being kind to yourself?
- Is it time that you defused from some of your stories?
- What can you share that might be of help to others?
Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.
TIP FOR TODAY
POEM FOR TODAY
Let’s say a prayer for kindness, it’s our birth-right to be kind,
So if we want to be happy let’s our core of kindness find,
Let us poke around the embers ‘til they warm us from within
For it’s when we’re feeling warm inside that kindness can begin.
So the ear that’s poised to listen and the heart that opens wide
And the smiles bestowed unstintingly are fired from inside,
And it’s good that we remember that despite what others say
If we don’t top up the kindnesses we’ve none to give away.
So let’s start with little courtesies we to ourselves extend
Listen careful to the messages that mind and body send,
And if body is complaining or our mind is stretched and taut
Let us give ourselves some kindness if we’re feeling overwrought.
For there’s not one rule for others whilst our Self we disregard,
So if we’re tempted to be critical let’s play the kindness card
And not look on it as selfishness, but altruistically
For it’s when we are in surplus we can give it out for free.
© Corinne Shields, 2015
If you enjoyed, “KINDNESS” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.
And just before you go …..
A final word from ACT …..
ACT has a lot to say about the stories that we tell ourselves, the messages that we have internalised as children which may not be helpful to the adults that we now are.
ACT is not so much concerned with whether these stories are true or false but whether they are workable. What workable means is are they working for us or against us in our lives now. If a story is working, that’s great, it’s useful so hold on to it. If it’s not then let it go. It is just a story after all!
If you want to read more about stories and their impact, and discover ways to disentangle and unhook from unhelpful stories there are lots of ACT resources to help. In my opinion, one of the best is Russ Harris’
Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!
How about YOU?
What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?
Just for today I will ………………………
If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?
I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.
With all good wishes